The Mid-Week Beat: Happy Birthday to Elvis and Bowie!

Happy-Birthday-Elvis-Presley-David-Bowie-elvis-presley-18274375-500-311Today marks the birthdays of two major forces in modern popular music, one has sadly passed on and the other continues to create original and challenging music. I am, of course, referring to the legendary and iconic Elvis Presley and David Bowie.

Elvis Presley was born on this day in 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi. It was in the Assembly of God church in Tupelo that Elvis first discovered his love for music. He entered a singing contest at the age of ten at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show, winning fifth place, and, a few weeks later, got his first guitar for his birthday. He would take lessons over the following year and would watch and learn from other guitarists but he remained shy and nervous about performing in front of other people.

He eventually began bringing his guitar to school on a daily basis, playing and singing during his lunchtime, despite being teased for playing “hillbilly” music. He became a fan of Mississippi Slim’s radio show on the local radio station WELO, and Slim’s younger brother, who was a classmate of Presley’s, began taking him to the station. Slim begain showing the young Presley guitar chord technique and eventually scheduled him for two on-air performances. He chickened out of the first one but made it to the second.
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The Pronto Podcast — Brown Paper Tickets’ Event Guide for Seattle

BPT_buttonWelcome to The Pronto! Brown Paper Ticket’s event guide for Seattle.

Tune in every Tuesday to check out a few of our favorite events in the Emerald City! You can check back to the blog every Tuesday at 10am or hit “subscribe” on the player and get each week’s Pronto delivered right to your computer.

Have a friend that’s visiting Seattle this week? Why not share this podcast with them and give them ideas of something to do? 

This week’s podcast features poetry, a talk on the music industry, School of Rock’s Holiday Party and more!

Tonight, Tuesday, December 17, through Thursday, December 19, it’s movie time at Northwest Film Forum on Capitol Hill. Improvement Club is equal parts musical comedy, dance party and mockumentary. Good fun.

Wednesday, December 18, head over to the Richard Hugo House on Capitol Hill for Who Will Speak— A Celebration of Poetry and Readers. Authors Roger Reeves and Natalie Diaz will read from their debut books. This one is presented with Copper Canyon Press.

How about a trip to Vashon? On Thursday, December 19, hit up Open Space for Art and Community for Acrobatic Conundrum: The Way Out. This one features heart stopping acrobatics, aerial, theater and dance wrapped around a story of survival. Worth the trip.

If you’re more concerned about your music career than the holidays, check out Martin Atkins’ workshop Welcome to the Music Business— You’re F*cked on Friday, December 20. Atkins has worked with Public Image Limited, Ministry and Nine Inch Nails, among others, so he knows what he’s talking about. This one is free and it’s at the Brown Paper Tickets office in Fremont.

You know about School of Rock, right? Kids learning to play in rock bands. On Friday, December 20, head over to Fred Wildlife Refuge on Capitol Hill for School of Rock’s Season Preview Show and Holiday Party. Bring your ear plugs. It might get loud.

Saturday, December 21, get your erotic holiday spirit in gear at The Sultry Solstice Cocktail Party at Love City Love on Capitol Hill. That’s song, dance, spoken word performances, skits and visual art. It’s bound to be a hot night.

Spend the evening at a coffeeshop in the U District as Cafe Soulstice presents the band Yesod, on Saturday, December 21. Best described as a blend of world, blues, jazz and ambient music styles, these rich, living soundscapes go great with your favorite caffeinated beverage.

On Sunday, December 22, why not celebrate the winter solstice at Columbia City Theater with The Longest Night: Bellydance for the Solstice. This show features performances by Verbena Belly Dance, Carouselle Tribal Belly Dance and the Blue Lotus Dance Company.


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The Mid-Week Beat: 1-2-3-4! Happy Birthday Dee Dee!

DeeDeeRamoneChelseaHotel2Today in 1951, a punk rock icon was born.

Born Douglas Glenn Colvin in Fort Lee, Virginia, he was better known by the name he adopted in the band that would make him famous, Dee Dee Ramone. Dee Dee was a founding member of the Ramones, the band’s chief songwriter and bass player from 1974 to 1989. He would continue to write songs for the band even after he left, penning at least three songs for all subsequent albums leading up to their eventual breakup in 1996.

Dee Dee is best remembered for his signature count-off shout of “1-2-3-4!” and you can still hear this shout echoed in punk bands today. In fact, many of the bands that we’re featuring today owe quite a bit to ‘da brudders Ramone! It’s a shame that Dee Dee doesn’t get more credit as a songwriter considering he penned most of the Ramones’ timeless tracks: “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Rockaway Beach,” “Chinese Rocks” and “Rock and Roll High School” to name a few.

I know for me personally, the Ramones were one of the bands that changed my life and sent me down a punk rock path. As a kid, I loved the harmonies of bands like the Beach Boys and early rock and roll and the Ramones were the perfect combination of classic American pop hooks and menacing punk rock noise. I became obsessed with the band and was lucky enough to see them in 1990 at The Paramount Theater here in Seattle. Unfortunately, this was their first tour without Dee Dee. Their new bass player CJ Ramone did his best Dee Dee impersonation but he was no Dee Dee, that’s for sure.


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